Tuesday, July 28, 2015

1 year in

Alright guys, I am doing it. My one year in the house post. Full of never-before-seen photos of the before and the NOW! (as in I just took the pictures 5 mins ago.)

We are starting with the living room, bedroom, and guest bedroom, as those saw the biggest changes in appearance/are the most done right now. The 3rd bedroom/my cake room is a hot mess and the bathroom only added some storage. The kitchen looks really similar to when we bought it, except there is an island and a bunch of patches that haven't been painted. Once I do the backsplash in there and paint sometime this fall, I will share some photos then.... it just looks bad now.

Here we go!

Alright, here is the front view. As you can see, we cut that gigantic tree limb overhanging the walkway, took out some roses, added some black magic crepe myrtles (which are babies now but will be so pretty next year! One has some blooms and I am SO EXCITED for them to get huge!) and cleaned up under the tree. I should zoom in to make it more similar, but I'm lazy. Almost all of these photos are unedited. DEAL WITH IT.

Once again, I am the worst at consistency of photos. Guess I will never be a professional home blogger.

Differences here are no more rose bush, no more second entry door, added mailbox, added NO KNOCKING sign for my day sleeper husband, and the additional 2 front rugs piled up, one from Christmas. THIS IS REAL LIFE. Oh, and that fancy Texas Flag thing. I hung that up moments before this picture was taken. I bought it before we closed on the house. I am nothing if not honest. We also need to add some trim and finish caulking and painting this whole area..... someday soon? 

Oh look, the same view! No, seriously, this is the same view. What you see on the left used to be our Living room . . .the front door opened right into it, and that walkway made it so there was very very little useable space. There is a wall on the left of that photo that you can't really see --- the door opened onto it. We basically moved the wall to the other side of the hallway. What you see on the right is our entry way table, and the soundproofed wall to our bedroom/sleeping cave. You can also see here how we took out not one, but two doorways to make the hallway all big and spacious-like, and added those fancy little hallway lights. David says we still need one more closer to the front door, and he is wearing me down slowly.

So I can't take a similar photo because of wall placement, but the front door is on the left (out of farm) and the doorway on your left goes into the now-livingroom and the one on the right we took out to open up the hallway. You can see the door to the guest bedroom through the doorway. This is just to give you an idea of the wall we moved - it was really hard to take a photo of it. 

Same area, different view - this was the wall we moved - you can see the front door on the very left of the photo.

Okay, are you confused yet? This is the NEW wall from a 180 view, basically - do you see the cased opening there (where the wall comes down a little?) That is where the OLD wall in the photos just before this one was. That white door is our bedroom door, the door covered in Christmas cards is our front door. Are you getting an idea of how we changed the layout? You now walk into the hallway, instead of walking into the living room OR the bedroom. It makes a gigantic difference in the layout and usability of the house! 

For sure the best before/after photo of this post, I think. I swear this is the exact same angle as before! In the top photo, the door on the right is the second front door we removed, and the door on the left is the doorway into the room! Looking at all these old photos make me glad that I saw what I saw in this house - because it looked and worked SO bad before, it was hard to imagine it now. But I LOVE it. In the bottom photo, you get to see our desk-corner (which is my favorite, with my little gallery wall!)

Okay, this might compete for best photo, only because look at Albus! So cute! It is crazy how much bigger that window looks without the closet next to it! The closet in the top photo wasn't original to the house, and was a stupid waste of space (it was really deep). It was a gigantic pain in the butt to take out - so many nails!!!! - but really, this and moving the wall - they made the house what it is! 

Okay, obviously not the exact same view, but I was standing outside the (now non-exisstant) second front door to get that first shot. I love my living room! David and I both hate that couch, but we are saving up for a new one, slowly! 

This is our bedroom, now. Which is really hard to take photos of because it is tiny, and has no natural light (the windows have foil AND 1 inch foam insulation on them) and it is Navy . . . which photographs horribly in natural light. That little closet (same closet, two angles) is not big enough to hang clothes in, but for now it makes a fantastic linen closet! Someday, we would love to do a built-in-dresser and hanging rack, but we have plenty of closet space in the other bedrooms so we aren't in a hurry. 

This is the most similar angle I have of this... the top photo is a DURING photo - after we added the wall, before flooring and such was done. The below is the after. Seriously, impossible to take a photo of - that pillow is salmon colored, not orange. But we love it! I added the curtains so the window wasn't off-centered behind the bed, and since that window isn't used, it works great! 

Guest room. Can you see the added closet door? The new wall color photographs really poorly, but I love it. Also, that bed frame is WAY TO BIG for the room, but it and the mattress were $30 combined... and we don't ever have guests....so until I finish building one, it works great. 

Because of the bed, I couldn't get this from the same angle, but these are the closets. We don't think either were orginal to the house, and they are different depths. We stole half of the closet on the left (we moved the door over to the right about 10 inches... can you tell?) and now have a coat closet in the hallway, which is awesome. The doors and the trim were the big changes here - I did that door trim all by myself! I LOVE IT SO MUCH. 

So we took out that random light switch on the wall, and the gas pipes in the entire front half of the house (we have central heat and air now - there used to be gas heaters in each room!) and this is the after! We have a ton more art to hang in here (we bought fantasy maps at Scarborough Faire that are the coolest!) but I'm pretty happy with the very very way it is headed right now. Also, David has a pillow problem (he is really picky and will only use a pillow for a few months before he declares it dead... when really it is fine) so our guest room has a billion of them. 

Alright, so that is it so far! David and I have changed our schedules for the fall so we have 4 nights and 1 whole day off together, which we are super excited to be productive during! This year, we have have maybe 2 nights a week together, and one morning - so it will be a big change! Yay for more home projects! And not blogging them for a year! Maybe next time I will take the time to edit the photos before hand... but probably not. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Or as I like to call it... marriage

So, someone asked me the other day why Marriage Equality mattered to me - especially considering I am already married in a heteronormative relationship. 

Well, friends, it is because I AM married. I am SO happily married, when I think about not being able to be married I get angry and sad and scared all at the same time. When I think about not being able to spend every day with this husband of mine, planning our lives and working together to create our future I am gutted. When I let my mind wander to what my life would be like had I not gotten married, it doesn't ever end well. 

When I think about my friends who don't fit into the typical straight mold that I happen to, I think that they have every right to be as happy as I do. I think that they should be able to experience the kind of love and fidelity that I enjoy every single day. And I don't think that by them having meaningful, monogamous relationships that they will degrade the moral status of our society, nor do I think that they will bring the damnation of God upon us. I think that they will be happier, and as a result, they will bring more happiness into the world.

I am all for more happiness in the world.

Mostly, I am just glad that I am a little less privileged and a lot more equal to my friends.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wanderlust: The What If Edition

So, for most of my adult-ish life, I have had a serious case of Wanderlust. 

It is really hard to explain exactly how much my soul yearns to see new places and experience new foods and cultures. I love learning about different cultural practices, about how people have had totally different experiences as human beings than I have. I think that travel really helps us have a broader and more compassionate view of the world and people. If it was up to me, I would sell everything and we would just go on a huge adventure, never to return. But something is in my way: Fear.
Fear of living a non-conventional life.
Fear of being broke.
Fear of not having a place to call home.
Fear of instability. 
Fear of the unknown. 
Sometimes, fear is a really helpful emotion. In fact, a lot of times in my life when I have been scared, it has been for a very good reason. But what is it about breaking from the traditional script of what you are supposed to do in life that is so scary? 

I am constantly looking at different options for my life. Go back to school. Start my own business. Become a beach bum in Hawaii. David going to grad school. David changing courses in Nursing. Flipping houses. Working at Disney World. It goes on and on with all the options I have looked at and the life plans I have made based around them. But it is never the right time to change things. It is never the right time to do something that would make our life less easy. But the time is quickly approaching. 

At the end of this year, David and I will have a nice chunk of cash in savings. All of our debt will be paid off. We will have all the money saved to finish what we want to do to the house. We will be all out of excuses for not doing what we dream - and I am really interested to see what happens when we get to that point. This year, so far, has been a lesson in waiting. We would love to have some things happen RIGHT NOW, but we know that if we wait - some really awesome things are on the horizon. And we can see them. If we can just be a little bit more patient, we will be able to have our cake and eat it in a responsible, controlled manner. I think the fact that I want to wait until things are "right", at least as right as I can make them, means that I am turning into an adult. It is interesting and odd and I'm not quite sure if I like it. 

David and I are going to Explore, Dream and Discover. I am so excited that even if one option doesn't work out, we are fully prepared with two or three back up options that make us just as excited and will fulfill all our dreams in different ways. 

This was a really weird stream of typing and not editing post. If you made it this far, I salute you.

Off to kick this day's butt!

Monday, May 11, 2015

“I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”

I was just listening to a youtube video of a sermon and this quote was in it. And I heard it. I really heard it.

“I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”

The idea that there are these moments in our life, when we are lifted and struck like a bell, is really beautiful to me. To me, it is in these moments where I can feel or see God, whoever or whatever he may be. It is the moments where things feel clear and right and good and you feel like shouting out that I can feel that there is something more to this life.

Why don't we share these moments more? Is it because we don't realize they are happening or because we quickly forget them? In the sermon, the minister hypothesizes that it is because we are scared of being judged or misunderstood and so we water down these clear, bell-like moments into lukewarm ones. 

My Instagram has been a great way to surface journal the past couple of years of my life. I have thousands of photos of trips and dogs and houses and friends and it is really fun to look back and see how much fun I have had. But do I put those bell-like moments out there for the world to see? No, I don't. And I need to keep track of them - I need to remind myself about those moments of clarity in which I don't water down to lukewarm. In which I record as I remember them so that I can see trends in what makes me feel clearest.

This sermon was one of them. It was given by a minster named Aaron White who preaches at the local Unitarian Church in Dallas - I have been going there from time to time when I feel like I might die from going to my local mormon ward. I have come home crying more times than not the past few times I have gone to mormon church - I have felt alone, and isolated, and different and like I don't belong. I have prayed to feel good when I go, only to feel anxious and sick once I arrive. I feel like the dumbest kid in class - the one who isn't in on the secret because I don't KNOW what everyone else does. Like I said in my previous post - faith and belief (IE - admitting to not knowing things are true) is not seen as a positive thing in the mormon faith, and it is insanely hard to go someplace where you feel that you not only don't fit in, but someplace where you are actually not valued for who you are. 

I have felt some bell ringing moments listening to sermons like the one on youtube at the local Unitarian church. I have felt like I can breathe. I used to feel that at mormon church - in general conference, mostly - but haven't felt like that for a long time. This past general conference was especially brutal - I felt like I was holding my breath or biting my tongue with almost every talk that was given (except Uchdorf. I love that man) What does that mean? It is to the point that I am scared to go to mormon church because I am afraid of coming home in tears again. Is it okay to not go, when it is so incredibly painful?  Is it wrong of me to want to avoid that pain, that shame, that feeling of unwelcomeness? Is it bad I don't want to sit alone, I don't want to be ignored, I don't want to feel left out because I am not in the same mould that everyone else seems to be made in?

I was talking with a friend and she said that religion is a tool to help us find God - find those bell-ringing moments in our life where we find clarity. And that if that tool, or religion, stops helping us - we put it down and pick something else up. There is still so much I value about the mormon church - the way that it helps its own, the doctrine of eternal families, the level of commitment it requires of your life - that I'm not sure I am ready to put it down. But am I allowed to hold two tools - one in each hand - to help me find God? I have always thought that any other church would feel wrong - and in the past, when I attended other churches, they did. No bells were ringing for me - other than those in the bell tower. So what does it mean that I feel this way now? And not in a church that has the sign I was raised with out front? 

This is the most raw and real post I have probably ever written on this blog, other than my ones about depression (which surprise! a lot of which had to do with how I felt about church), and this is way way way scarier to put out there. But here it is. I am fragile and trying to figure out what the heck is going on in my life. Hopefully this blog can be a safe place for me to do it. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The things they don't tell you

So, lately, I have been questioning everything about my life. It has led me to some really interesting conclusions and some really good discussions with friends that are more honest and refreshing than I can remember having in years. It has also led me to understand SO much more about so many more people who I used to judge harshly and have so much more compassion.

I have never been good at compassion. Anyone can tell you that who knows me well. And while I still think idiots are idiots, I try to not be as strongly worded with my judgements of those around me, and try to think about where they might be coming from or going thru to act the way that they do. It blows my mind that I was stuck in such an incredibly small view of right and wrong and good and bad for such a long time - I think it was because since I went to BYU, almost everyone I have been friends with or hung out with has been Mormon. Since we moved to Dallas and I started my job at the restaurant, I have been hanging out with a lot of different people and it is awesome to see that people are happy - really, truly happy - outside my small box of what I have always thought life should look like to be happy. It has helped me appreciate the things in my life that I might not think are perfect, but are still pretty great things.

I had almost forgotten what it was like to have discussions with people and have to explain where my basic principles or morals come from - and I certainly don't remember ever having my basis of belief challenged. It is so good for me, I think, to be able to look outside myself and question if those base beliefs that I have just accepted for my entire life actually work for ME. Personally. And I have been surprised at what I actually know is true and what I only hope is true.

In the LDS church, you hear "I know the church is true" over and over and over again. It has always made me uncomfortable - the amount people claim to know. I have never felt like I have known much of anything, but I have had a whole lot of hope. It is easy to feel different or wrong when you don't have the same knowledge as everyone else - it is easy to feel stupid or not good enough when you hear that if you pray, you will know one specific answer. What happens when you don't get that answer? It means you aren't good enough. So my lack of knowledge, but plethora of faith and hope was actually something that was negative about my personality.

I have decided that I am not the broken one. My hope and faith - the fact that I still am a good person and try to do good to those around me despite not KNOWING anything - makes me who I am, and doesn't mean that I am not worthy or good enough. It actually means that I am stronger than most people - that I have to take this life and use it as good as I possibly can because I don't KNOW that I will have anything after I die - that this life is all that I KNOW I have. And while some people may think that this is sad, the lack of knowledge of where I will end up or go when I die has been liberating. I don't feel like I am waiting - I am doing now what I want to do and being who I want to be without pretenses. It is so nice to be done trying to fit some mould that I felt like I had to fit in to be happy because I am happy right now with who I am and where I am!

This post probably doesn't make any sense to anyone else but it doesn't matter. I just feel really great right now and it is nice. And I just wanted to write it down so I can remember it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The one about my husband turning 28

So, this is really late (almost a month) but here is my annual birthday letter to my favorite man-human in the world. 

Dear Husband, 

I just went thru all of our pictures on the laptop and picked out my favorites of you and you and me and now I am going to tell you why I love them/you. 

You, in London, writing down what we spent on breakfast.

I love that you try to be a good spender of our money - you make budgets and projections, you think about our future, you plan for rainy days. I love that you have become so incredibly good with money that I don't even have to look at our bank account anymore! You have come a long, long way from the boy who I almost didn't marry because he couldn't save $1000. 

Us, on the London Metro.
 I love that you and I get annoyed at the same things. Mostly, stupid people. I love people watching with you - sitting next to you and making snide remarks under our breath or just exchanging a glance and there is no doubt in our minds that we are thinking the exact same thing.

A rare picture of us kissing.
 I love that you kiss me anytime I want. I also love that you know that I don't want to make out in public - I just want a nice kiss to remind me of what your lips feel like on mine (which, BTW, is pretty good). Remember how I taught you how to kiss in High School? Yeah, you learned well.

On the way to HP Studios outside London!
 I love that when you get annoyed with my excessive selfie-game, you make this face. You make it a lot. I don't even care, because I think it is adorable. You are gonna be such a grumpy old man. I can't wait.

Magic is Might Statue.
 I love that you are fair. You want us to be equal partners and you strive to correct yourself when you are having me do an unfair share of housework/cooking/whatever. You are so incredibly good at taking my criticism and turning it into something positive in our relationship. I appreciate that more than you know - the fact that you listen to me and take action on things that I am not happy with. I try to do this as well. I think it is one of the reasons we have such a good marriage.

At WDW with our Haws Kidlets.
 I love that you love our Haws kids. It makes me glad that we have them in our lives, but it makes me so happy when you get excited to see them, or want to plan trips around baptism dates, or when you see something in the store or online and say "Hey, I bet Nate would like that!" I just love that we have created a bond with these little people who love you so much they talk about you even when we live thousands of miles away.
AK safari on a rainy day means ALL THE ANIMALS!
The fact that anytime there is a chance of seeing an animal, you want to do it, makes me happy. I can't wait to take you to the drive-thru zoo in Glenrose and watch you flip your lid at all the animals that come up to our car. I love your unbridled enthusiasm for things -the fact that you aren't afraid that I am going to make fun of you for being excited or for acting like a little boy about things you like. I love your nerdy self, and that you love mine. 

The Smithsonian
I just like this picture because of where your hand is - I like it when you touch me. I like it when you put your hand on my neck or on my waist. I know that is silly, but it just shows me you love me and the more you show me, the better.

I think this is at DFW? 
I love how cold you get. It is really cute, even though I know you hate it. You wear earmuffs and your HP scarf and I just want to hug you real tight. I love it when we are going to bed together (which happens like, once a week these days) when it is cold and you just pull me against you and steal all my heat. It annoys me when you put your freezing cold hands on my warm skin, but I secretly hope you never stop.

Georgetown has Cannons! We had to take a pic orbs.

 I love that you can take what we have and make the absolute best of it - you can roll with the punches and change on a dime when we are traveling and I am SO glad that is true.  I feel like I could never have a better travel buddy than you. As hard as last year was on our schedule, I loved seeing someplace new with you almost every month. I loved the plane rides spent shoulder to shoulder, the new foods, missing our mattress, last minute shows, and everything in between during our trips. I love that you know how important travel is to me - and how much a part of our lives we have been able to make and it and how much we plan on it being part of our future! 

Spoonfuls of peanut butter
I just love this picture that you tried to prevent me from taking. 1. Hogwarts Shirt. 2. Giant spoonful of Peanut Butter 3. Adorable half-ashamed smile. I just like you, okay?

Space Mountain is for the cool kids.
I love that you will take pictures like this with me. And that you will go to WDW with me and enjoy it as much as me. And that my calves look awesome in this picture.

Meeting your hero, Aladdin.
 I love how you geek out when you are happy. Look at the pure joy on your face here. If I could figure out a way to make you look like this more often, I would. It is my favorite kind of David. I am so excited for our year of Disney and how much fun we are going to have going to the parks and experiencing them during different times of the year!

Space Ranger Spin
I love how you think you will beat me at any shooting game and you never do. Except that one time on Toy Story Mania, but I demand a rematch next year. DEMAND IT. I also love that you are a good sport about it. 

DL Paris. 
 I love that you love food. I love going out to eat with you and trying new things. I love that we can critique food. I love that we have a similar taste in food so we can share and try things together. I also love that even though you have a lot of foods you don't LOVE, you will try almost anything once. We learned in Paris that you love Escargot. You like foods you don't think you will and you will eat anything I cook at least once - but you are also honest if you don't like something which is awesome because if you don't like it... why would I make it?!
Lastly, I love your obsessive behavior. You are very particular about things - how the bedroom is when you go to sleep, where all your stuff is, how things are done. Sometimes, it drives me insane, bust mostly I love that you know what you want. Because it means that if you are still with me, it is because you want to be with me. You don't do things you don't want to do, and you overuse the things you like. And from the amount of time we spend together when we aren't working (read: any and all), I am gonna go ahead and say you like me. 

Husband, please keep being you. Because I don't want to be with anyone else.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Its a hard knocked life

Just kidding. My life is awesome.

I am sitting IN. MY. HOUSE. typing this! CRAZY TOWN. We are 80% moved in, 50% unpacked, and the house is maybe 75% done? Haha. Our bedroom and the living room have the trim and stuff done - all that is needed is paint touchup and curtains. I am working on the second bedroom and the hallway tonight finishing trim and then next week I will paint the second bedroom (I think I have settled on a color? maybe?). I am excited to finish the trim everywhere so I can move the saw out of the 3rd bedroom and turn it into my cake room - right now my cake table is in the living room holding up the computer I am typing this on. It . . . doesn't fit in here. At all.  But we also don't have a desk right now (I hated the one we had so we left it at my parents) so we are using what we have! 

Unpacking is the worst - especially because two of the closets don't have shelves/hanging rods and the third closet doesn't have the floor finished and the fourth closet is full of construction crap. I gotta finish all that stuff this week so we can get our stuff all the way out of my parents house so that I can deep clean it! Baaaah. And then I need to do some kind of job until the end of the year so we can like, afford food and stuff. HOUSES ARE EXPENSIVE. 


Maybe someday I will put up some pictures. Until then, please view my instagram feed.